Parties go to war against dust scourge

Parties go to war against dust scourge

Both the Democrats and the Pheu Thai Party have promised to tackle the air pollution problem, including passing the long-overdue Clean Air Act.

Democrat Party deputy leader Ongart Klampaiboon and head of the party’s policy team Suchatvee Suwansawat announced their dust-tackling policies yesterday at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.

Mr Ongart said that dust levels are worsening as the general attitude among the public has, in part, become far too blasé as they have failed to see any real progress from politicians unable or unwilling to communicate the urgency of stemming the pollution.

To prove that natural factors, such as rain, might not be an absolute solution to lowering the dust level, Mr Suchatvee used a dust measuring machine to measure the dust level in certain neighbouring areas at 9.25am yesterday.

Despite heavy rain on Sunday night, the machine detected dust levels as high as 25 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³) in some open areas. While in areas along Rama I Road, Mr Suchatvee pointed to readings of up to 53 µg/m³, which is higher than the standard threshold of 50 µg/m³.

According to Mr Suchatvee, the Democrats’ premise of “a dust war” included not only the designation of a Bangkok Low Emission Zone, abbreviated as B-LEZ, on more than 130 square metres of pilot areas covering 16 inner-city districts but also the Clean Air Act publication.

He added that the new law would will standardise pollution control policies, including pollution tax collection and dust level disclosure. It will also encourage increased decentralisation of pollution control, he added.

Yesterday, Democrats were not the only ones to mention the Clean Air Act. The Pheu Thai Party, meanwhile, also proposed the law’s application at yesterday’s press conference, alongside another 17 measures they intend to roll out to help them win what they too have called the “dust war”.

At the press conference, Plodprasop Suraswadi, the head of the party’s PM2.5 policies team, said that the policies would be divided into strategic control measures and practical control measures, which would include finally getting the Clean Air Act on the statute books.

Jakkraphol Thangsuttitham, a Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Mai, said that the party had submitted a draft of the bill for the cabinet’s consideration over a year ago, but nothing had been heard since.